THE 3TAN, NOT THE METHOD Anyone who can perceive this mystery intuitively will not need to square the circle. Since Lindemann settled tt the one outstanding unsolved problem that attracts amateurs is Fermat's 'Last Theorem*. Here an amateur with real genius undoubtedly has a chance. Lest this be taken as an invitation to all and sundry to swamp the editors of mathematical journals with attempted proofs, recall what happened to Lindemann when he boldly tackled the famous theorem. If this does not suggest that more than ordi- nary talent will be required to settle Fermat, nothing can. In 1901 Lindemann published a memoir of seventeen pages pur- porting to contain the long-sought proof. The vitiating error being pointed out, Lindemann, undaunted, spent the best part of the next seven years in attempting to patch the unpatchable, and in 1907 published sixty-three pages of alleged proof which were rendered nonsensical by a slip in reasoning near the very beginning. Great as were Hermite's contributions to the technical side of mathematics, his steadfast adherence to the ideal that science is beyond nations and above the power of creeds to dominate or to stultify was perhaps an even more significant gift to civiliza- tion in the long view of things as they now appear to a harassed humanity. "VYe can only look back on his serene beauty of spirit with a poignant regret that its like is nowhere to be found in the world of science to-day. Even when the arrogant Prussians were humiliating Paris in the Franco-Prussian war, Hermite, patriot though he was, kept his head9 and he saw clearly that the mathematics of 'the enemy' was mathematics and nothing else. To-day, even when a man of science does take the civilized point of view, he is not impersonal about his supposed broad- mindedness, but aggressive, as befits a man on the defensive. To Hennite it was so obvious that knowledge and wisdom are not the prerogatives of any sect, any creed, or any nation that he never bothered to put his instinctive sanity into words. In respect of what Hermite knew by instinct our generation is two centuries behind him. He died, loved the world over, on 14 January 1901.